Valve may be preparing a handheld Steam console

Valve may be preparing a handheld Steam console

Pavel Djundik, the founder of the SteamDB site, which tracks the Steam database, noticed several references in the code of the latest beta version of the Steam client that suggests that Valve could be working on something called SteamPal. It's not crystal clear what this is all about, but the project codenamed "Neptune" could reportedly be a new piece of hardware from Valve.

Mention is made of support for WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as airplane mode, which could easily mean that Valve is working on some sort of portable gaming device on Steam. It is also mentioned that the options to shut down, restart or suspend the system could be used.

Of course, when a portable gaming device is mentioned in the context of PC games, many automatically think of laptops, possibly tablets. Recently, however, there has been a fierce battle over who will make a fully functional PC for gaming in a smaller format similar to the Nintendo Switch console. Chances are good that Valve will try to cover that market segment, as there is no pronounced ruler there yet.

It is worth noting that Valve now has a decade-long history of making hardware designed to play video games. Once upon a time, they had a Steam Machines initiative through which they wanted to bring Steam into the living room. They didn't quite succeed in that, but products like Steam Link and Steam controllers still found a smaller part of the audience. Furthermore, they tried to conquer the VR device market, first in cooperation with HTC, and then independently.

Finally, a smaller portable PC could be considered a kind of console. Valve with such a device would not distribute the Windows operating system so Valve may be preparing its system. We mention this because Gabe Newell recently stated that by the end of the year we will have a vision of Valve’s games on consoles. What if he meant portable Steam consoles? Everything is possible…

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